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BGDS asks Insurance Commissioner to do more than issue bulletin on gender identity

While the Barbara Gittings Delaware Stonewall Democrats have applauded the actions of Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart in issuing a Bulletin to health insurance companies stating that those insurers are expected to cover medical expenses for insured individuals seeking treatment for gender transition services, BGDSD is concerned that this action is inadequate

Governor Markell signed into law Gender Identity protections on June 19, 2013. A Statute creates standards and rules. An administrative agency is empowered with advertising and adopting Regulations which set out a process of monitoring and enforcing a statute. Regulations have the force of law. Instead of promulgating a regulation, Commissioner Karen Weldon Stewart issued a Bulletin. A Bulletin is merely a statement of what the administrative agency believes the law requires. It is not enforceable. It does not create a method for insurers to report compliance with the law. In reality it will not help Delaware policy holders seeking medical treatment.

A possibly even greater concern is the Department of Insurance regulates only health insurance policies issued in Delaware. The DOI does not regulate individuals whose employers are self-insured. As an example, the State of Delaware is self-insured. Even a well-meaning Bulletin does not govern, and the DOI cannot require, that the State of Delaware provide coverage for its employees (including teachers and law enforcement officers who are covered by the State Plan). The only vehicle for providing such coverage for state employees is adding that coverage to the state plan. Such an addition must be made by the State Benefits Committee. Commissioner Stewart is a voting member of that committee.

The BGDSD asks Commissioner Stewart why she has not proposed that state employees be covered if she truly believes that transgender Delawareans should have insurance that pays for transition-related medical care?

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